The Director General of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (‘Organisation’) has communicated the following:
On the 5th December, 2019 the Protocol Amending the Treaty establishing the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (‘ECTEL’) entered into force, in accordance with its Article XVI, which reads as follows:
“This Protocol shall take effect after it is accepted by all Contracting States, and the instruments of acceptance is deposited with the Secretariat of the Organisation.”
The ECTEL Treaty was signed on 4th May, 2000 in St. George’s, Grenada, which established ECTEL as the regulatory authority for the telecommunications sectors for five (5) Contracting States of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). These States are the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The implementing legislation for the ECTEL Treaty was enacted in each of the Contracting States as the legal framework for telecommunications, either by a standalone ECTEL Act or embedded in the Schedule of the Telecommunications Act.
Since the signing of the ECTEL Treaty and enactment of the legal framework (Telecommunications Act and accompanying Regulations), a number of amendments have been made to the current legislative framework. These amendments were meant to address challenges and developments in the telecommunications sector of the Contracting States over the last twenty (20) years.
The new framework, which comprises the Electronic Communications Bill and suite of Regulations, attempts to further address new and emerging issues in the telecommunications sector. These include convergence of services, networks and technologies, quality of service, consumer protection, and more affordable access to retail and wholesale telecommunications services.
To ensure that the new legislative framework is introduced and enacted in each of the five (5) Contracting States, the ECTEL Treaty required modification by way of a Protocol Amendment. The Protocol is a legal prerequisite for the promulgation of the Electronic Communications Bill and a new suite of Regulations in all five (5) Contracting States. Accordingly, as at 5th December, 2019 the Protocol was entered into force, and from that date all five (5) Contracting States have the authority to pass into law the Electronic Communications Bill, the Electronic Communications (Roaming Services) Bill and its accompanying Regulations.